The Gospel According to John Dewey (Part 3)

 
 
             The Gospel According to John Dewey (Part 3)
                                By David A. Noebel<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
 
"In building naturalistic alternatives to religion, we need to focus on exemplary models in history:  [secular] humanist heroes and heroines…among these are [John] Dewey and [Bertrand] Russell."  Paul Kurtz, Free Inquiry, August/September 2006.
 
 
 
14.  "To the extent American education has absorbed Dewey's enmity against religion, students and parents legitimately question whether their own values receive due respect in our liberal pluralistic society. Nowhere has genuine faith been more scorned, both by condescension and hostility, than in the halls of the educational establishment."  Ibid. 21.
 
15. "Dewey's idea of human nature is quite vague.  One thing, however, is clear:  for Dewey, human nature is not fixed; it can be changed and molded." Ibid. 22.
 
16. "Dewey's rejection of traditional views of human nature [fallen, sinful, and fractured] is critical to his purpose even though he has no real alternative by which to guide classroom activity." Ibid. 23
 
17.  "Dewey tends to ridicule the time-honored concepts of personal integrity, character, and 'virtues,' all of which he variously refers to as 'magic' or 'fatuity' [stupidity conveyed with an air of self-satisfaction].  Dewey asserts that in traditional character education, the pupil 'is trained like an animal rather than educated like a human being' (DE, 13)." Ibid. 25.
 
18. "Dewey also eliminates the 'will' from any meaningful role in moral development.  This is no minor philosophical innovation; on the contrary, the 'will' has traditionally been identified as the faculty of moral choice.  Indeed without the will, it is no longer meaningful to speak of moral choice, since it is one's will that does the choosing.  The problem is compounded given that there is, for Dewey, no longer virtue or vice between which to choose." Ibid. 26.
 
19.  "Dewey's attack on the pedagogical goal of personal character is also evident in the conspicuous preoccupation among professional educators with 'self-esteem.'  While all would agree that a healthy self-image is necessary for an individual's well being, contemporary educators often ignore the truth that self-esteem is built upon achievement.  Advocates of progressive [socialistic] education argue that the teacher can artificially construct a student's self-esteem with praise in the absence of success-or sometimes even effort-through programs such as 'I Like Me.'" Ibid. 27.
 
20.  "Dewey complains that without scientific observation and analysis we can know nothing reliable about moral behavior.  If we are to get anywhere, science musts replace religious or philosophical guidance….The classroom will become the laboratory wherein morality is investigated as one might pursue experiments in electricity, pathology, or physics."  Ibid. 30.
 
21.  "Dewey's experimentation means that unproven theory becomes the subject matter of the classroom."  Ibid. 31.
 
22.  Dewey "concedes that his 'naturalistic method…destroys many things once cherished' [e.g., truth telling].  Yet his experimental method proves incapable of supplying an adequate substitute for that which it destroyed." Ibid. 32.
 
23. "Today's critical thinking programs all too often teach that 'critical thinking' consists of adopting a particular ideologically charged 'progressive' [socialistic] worldview.  This kind of mischievous socializing is today's incarnation of Dewey's so-called critical thinking."  Ibid. 51.
 
24. "In his review of Dewey's work on logic [Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1903)], Charles Peirce, the father of American pragmatism, accused Dewey of 'a debauch of loose reasoning' and 'intellectual licentiousness.'" Ibid. 51.
 
25. "In Dewey's school the student with superior potential may not advance without the less capable student as this would produce 'inequality.'  The superior student then will inevitably be confined to a lower level of accomplishment."  Ibid. 67.
 
26.  Dewey "wants schools to lead a revolt-not one aimed at realigning the citizen's heart and mind with the accomplishments of 1776, but one aimed at a social and economic revolution that would undermine them." Ibid. 70.  While Dewey agreed with Thomas Jefferson in some ways, he would disagree with <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Jefferson when it came to the necessity of reading good books that encourage "gratitude, generosity, charity, kindness, truthfulness, a sense of justice, stability, organization, and courage." Ibid. 64.   Jefferson also "held the classical languages in high regard" and his educational philosophy consisted of "traditional liberal arts subjects like literature, music, philosophy, history, languages, and mathematics figure prominently at the elementary, secondary, or college level." Ibid. 64.  Dewey would disagree with large sections of Jefferson's curriculum as being too traditional.  Besides, Jefferson was not an atheist, naturalist or socialist.
 
27.  Dewey "questions the importance of the American system of voting rights and wonders whether 'some functional organization would not serve to formulate and manifest public opinion better than the existing methods.' In the same context he can question the need for the nation-state…Indeed, Dewey curiously dismisses a preoccupation with the 'established mechanism' of American government as a kind of 'idolatry of the Constitution' (FC, 158)." Ibid. 70.
 
28. "In the summer of 1928, Dewey received an invitation from the Soviet Union's education minister to lead a group of educators on a visit to the U.S.S.R.  Jay Martin reports the enthusiasm with which the Soviets received Dewey's educational ideas:  'In Moscow Dewey attended a conference organized by Professor A. G. Kalashnikov of the pedagogical department Moscow Technical University.  Ten days later Kalashnikov sent Dewey a two-volume set of the Soviet Pedagogical Encyclopedia for 1927, with a note: 'Your works, especially 'School and Society' and 'The School and the Child,' have very mush influenced the development of the Russian pedagogy and in the first years of the revolution  you were one of the most renowned writers.' 'At present,' he continued, 'Soviet philosophico-socialist theory differed a bit from Dewey's recommendations, but still, those 'concrete shapes of pedagogical practice, which you have developed in your works, will be for a long time the aim of our tendencies.'"  Ibid. 73.
 
29.  "Political philosophy or no political philosophy, Dewey is committed to using education to revolutionize American society, if not the American system of government.  In Schools of Tomorrow, Dewey complains that heretofore schools have been based upon unjust social arrangements created for the advantage of a few and the disadvantage of the many.  The schools, he writes, were designed and developed in a pre-revolutionary era.  Strangely, though, when he speaks of 'revolution' he has in mind the French Revolution. He curiously identifies American education with the social class abuses and deprivation characteristic of pre-revolutionary France, ignoring its differences with pre-revolutionary America." Ibid. 75.
 
30.  "Dewey subverts the educational intentions of Jefferson and of the entire founding generation.  In light of the founders' aspirations, Dewey's schoolhouse revolution compromises the integrity of American leadership, deprecates moral and civic virtue, depreciates the importance of constitutional structures and processes, and thus undermines the well-being of the American republic." Ibid. 76.
 
31. "More generally, an increasingly popular theme in education research today, evident in the leading educational academic journals, is the application of Nietzsche's thought to the classroom.  It is no wonder that traditional pedagogical discipline and restraints must be eradicated.  As Nietzsche himself explains, creators must also be destroyers." Ibid. 34.
 
32. "One popular expression of progressivism [socialism] in educational philosophy is 'constructivism,' a classroom approach in which pupils are coached to 'create their own meaning.'" Ibid. 34.
 
33. "As moral education grows less and less committed to propagating some objective moral content, and as the authority that would reinforce that content weakens, the clarity of a distinction between some notion of good and evil necessarily fades." Ibid. 34, 5.
 
34.  "Dewey was not troubled by the erosion of the basic philosophical and theological distinctions of good and evil." Ibid. 35. 
 
35. "Reflections of Nietzschean nihilism are not hard to find in Dewey's thought.  We noted earlier Dewey's use of Nietzsche's characterization of Christianity as a 'slave morality,' one in which one group is subjugated by another through religious doctrine.  Dewey also suggests that the moral boundaries of 'good and evil' are invalid in light of modern science, echoing Nietzsche's thesis in Beyond Good and Evil." Ibid. 33.
 
36.  "Dewey also echoes Nietzsche's assertion that the basis of morality is the 'will to power' of the most advanced and creative members of society, and Dewey introduces this idea into the classroom." Ibid. 33.
 
37.  Dewey advocates a "new classroom ethic that allows for the 'release' of impulses [passion, desire, and will to power] so that they might be 'intelligently' employed…Education cannot progress if impulses are 'snubbed' or 'sublimated.'" Ibid. 33.
 
38. Anyone interested in American education can not fail to see Dewey's foot and fingerprints on every page of the curriculum and the classroom.  Is it any wonder why only a few years ago American 12th-graders scored near the bottom on the Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS):  U.S. students placed 19th out of 21 developed nations in math and 16th out of 21 in science.  Our advanced students did even worse, scoring dead last in physics.  Ibid. 115.
 
39.  The number of Christian young people who have had their faith shattered because of John Dewey's atheistic, naturalistic, relativistic, evolutionistic, socialistic curriculum implanted in America's public schools is in the millions.  The worldview that Dewey represents is Secular Humanism and it is the educational philosophy of America's public education today.  The fact that Secular Humanism is as religious as Christianity doesn't seem to bother the ACLU or the U.S. Department of Education (see my Clergy in the Classroom or Tim LaHaye and my Mind Siege).  In fact, atheism itself has now been declared a religion (see The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Case No. 04-1914) and therefore, under the rules of separation of church and state, should not be allowed in our public schools under the guise of naturalism, materialism or physicalism.  Besides, Michael Ruse, a Darwinist, admits that evolution is a religion too (see National Post, May 13, 2000, Bl).  This doesn't seem to bother the ACLU or the U.S. Department of Education either.  Both are only concerned when the Christian worldview is in question; not when the Secular Humanist worldview continues its advance throughout our society.  The Secular Humanist desire to crush the Christian worldview is as vicious (read Richard Dawkin's articles in Free Inquiry magazine or Richard Carrier's Sense and Goodness Without God) as the Islamofascist desire to crush Jews and Christians in the middle-East.     
 
Prepared by David A. Noebel, Summit Ministries, Manitou Springs, Colorado.  Sources:  Henry T. Edmondson, John Dewey & The Decline Of American Education; Zygmund Dobbs, ed., The Great Deceit and Paul Johnson, Intellectuals.  All highly recommended reading for Christian high school and college students.
 
 
 
         
 
 

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